High up in the Himalayas of Nepal, the whistling cries of the falcon proclaimed its dominion over the sky as it scanned the wilderness for food. The lands of Asia welcomed the heavens where the blend of delicate blues met the dapple greens of nature along the horizon. The coarse organic outlines of the great mountains, crowned with a diadem of sparkling white snow and a halo of clouds, were a symbol of benevolence from an almighty god.
The herds rested sound in the bosom of the hills not far from the winding serpent of crystal that crafted the afternoon river.
Charged with the protection of life, the vast moving islands of vapour shielded the eyes of the earth from the sun that demanded respect from those that gazed upon him.
There, high up in the Himalayas where the earth reached for the sky, was a free spirit. A wandering young man, an Ambassador of the Soburin, who scarcely was caught in the same place more than once. The young man went by the name of Johannan.
His eyes locked on the clusters of white clouds leisurely floating through the azure sky. The clean smell of crisp mountain air cooled his throat as it filled his lungs.
Weary from his travels, Johannan rested on a smooth rock while nibbling the stem of a length of grass. The towering blades of green and brown bowed before the majestic shrills of the upward drafts. He recalled his travels on the lands beneath, and how long it took him to climb to the summit. Places that took days to travel seemed only to be minutes away when he gazed into the everlasting greens of the lands below.
For hours, Johannan had been fixed in a tranquil state of mind, but the sudden noises of bashing hooves from the mountain goats clapping against the rocks broke a spell of stillness over him. He turned and saw a tribe of goats feeding on the wild grass as the young ones played with each other. The scene strummed on the strings of his memory, reminding him of all his childhood friends and all the loved ones and wonderful things he had left behind in his village. He could smell the warm, dense, spicy fragrances of dal bhat that Mama prepared, the hot wisps of vapours that escaped and filled the room when he broke into the skins of the unleavened bread that she baked. Johannan licked his lower lip; he could almost taste the memory. It had been a long time since he had tasted some good home cooking.
He longed for the days of waking up to the clapping echoes of Mama beating wet clothes against the river rocks. The noises annoyed him back then, but it was something he’d gladly welcome back. The simplicity of his life then was something he took for granted. Mama often warned about the comforts of love and the danger that lies in taking it for granted.
Johannan reminisced about Nanda, the storyteller, and Raman, the giggler who always found humour in his jokes. He remembered partaking with the mischievous Ketan in his silly antics. Ketan was always getting up to no good; he was remarkably skilled at aggravating his elderly father. He recalled a time Ketan decided to hide his father’s goats from him, and another scenario where he dyed his father’s chickens bright blue with the dye his mother used for cooking. He turned his head as if to focus more on another area of open sky, and he envisioned . . . her. He breathed in as much air as he could. She was the reason he was out here, far away from home, travelling the wilderness night and day. She was the reason he met him, the Soburin.
The vision was of a young, beautiful Asian woman sitting on a small wooden stool. His eyes opened wider with an expression of awe and his heart raced.
An upward gust of Himalayan glory covered him, the blade of grass he chewed on arched, and his long charcoal-toned hair loosely danced like a blown flame to the wails of the passing winds. He could see her long, black hair falling to her waist, a benevolent smile on her face. The subtle aroma of rose oils that Mama massaged into her skin filling the house with her presence. Despite the cool brushes of the wind, he could feel the waves of heat from his heart moving within him. He hugged himself, gripping his shoulders; he could almost feel her gentle embrace. Johannan stretched his hands to the sky as if to touch the vision of her with the tip of his finger. My beloved Ayushi, you mean so much to me, and I have been gone for years, so long. I wish my journey would come to an end, so I could be with you again.
He closed his eyes and gently placed his hands over his heart. When I return, your sight will be cured as he promised me, and we will get married as I have promised you since we were children playing by the riverside. Johannan stared at the goats playing with each other so blissfully, enjoying a freedom he longed for.
Even the wild animals are with their loved ones.
A deep sigh of sorrow escaped his lips, and a tear freed itself and swivelled down his cheek.
I wonder what she’s doing now. Probably home, outside playing away on that old flute I made for her when we were little.
He reminisced about how they used to play the flute together. Raman and the children of the village would dance to their cheerful melodies. He caught the escaped tear with the hem of his cloak. The wails of the winds fell to a silence. It would be the greatest manifestation of joy if my Ayushi could have her sight by our wedding day.
He remembered how he felt when he first met the Soburin—the excitement, the adventure, and the beginning of his greatest sorrow.
“I remember the day I left home,” he said just above a whisper.